European Soccer Forecast: Projected Betting Odds, Totals For Thursday’s Europa League Round of 16 Matches (March 11)
Julian Finney/Pool/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Tottenham Hotspur stars Son Heung-min and Harry Kane celebrate a goal.
The Europa League is back in action Thursday, with the Round of 16 kicking off and places in the quarterfinals on the line. Here are the matchups:
🔥 Round of 16 draw! 🔥
Best game? 🤩#UELdrawpic.twitter.com/LlPsMyZjgo
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) February 26, 2021
The Round of 32 was filled with plenty of drama, featuring upsets late winners and a tons of goals. Here are some the highlights from two weeks ago:
- The Swiss champions Young Boys pulled off a huge upset over Bayer Leverkusen, winning 6-3 on aggregate.
- Norwegian champion Molde defeated Hoffenheim, 2-0, in the second leg of their tie to secure a massive upset and winning 5-3 on aggregate.
- Rangers and Royal Antwerp had the most action-packed Round of 32 series, as a total of 14 goals were scored over the two legs. Rangers walked away with a 9-5 aggregate win.
- Slavia Prague scored two second-half goals to beat Leicester City, 2-0, at the King Power Stadium, knocking the Foxes out of the competition.
- Arsenal needed two late goals to get by Benfica and got it in the most dramatic of ways:
Saka 🤝 Auba. CLUTCH. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/uy8vnBL5td
— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) February 25, 2021
Now, the competition heats up as the stakes get higher as we enter the Round of 16 fixtures. So, what is everyone playing for? It’s pretty simple: the title winner earns a spot in Champions League next season.
If you’d like to read more about how I determine my projected lines and totals using an expected goals model, you can read about it here.
For the Europa League, my projections factor in UEFA Coefficients for every country represented. The projections also take into consideration the talent of each squad based on their total transfer value on TransferMarkt.
That way, the projections can account for the strength of the domestic league each club plays in and the talent level of each team.
Round of 16 Projected Odds & Totals
- AC Milan: Ante Rebic (LM) and Mario Mandzukic (ST) are questionable to play against Manchester United. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (ST) and Hakan Calhanoglu (CAM) are out.
- Arsenal: Emile Smith Rowe (CAM) is questionable to face Olympiacos.
- Granada: Luis Milla (CAM), Luis Javier Suarez (ST), Yangel Herrera (RM), Darwin Machis (CM), Angel Montoro (CM), Jesus Vallejo (CB), and Maxime Gonalons (CM) are out against Molde.
- Manchester United: Marcus Rashford (ST), Edinson Cavani (ST), Donny van de Beek (CM) and Paul Pogba (CM) are questionable to play against AC Milan. David De Gea (GK) is out.
- Molde: Ola Brynhildsen (LM) is out against Granada.
- Rangers: Ryan Jack (CM), Kemar Roofe (ST), and James Tavernier (RB) are out against Slavia Prague.
- Roma: Jordan Vertout (CM) and Edin Džeko (ST) are out against Shakhtar.
- Tottenham: Serge Aurier (RB) and Giovanni Lo Celsco (CM) are out against Dinamo Zagreb.
Betting Analysis & Picks
Slavia Prague vs. Rangers (12:55 p.m. ET)
Rangers, who celebrated winning their first Scottish Premier League title in a decade this past week, have been running rampant over all of their opponents. They are 20 points ahead of rival Celtic, averaging 2.00 xG per match and conceding just 0.77 xG per match along the way.
In fact, Steven Gerrard’s men haven’t lost a match this season, going 34-6-0 (W-D-L) during their amazing run. Rangers destroyed Royal Antwerp in the Round of 32, beating their foe, 9-5, on aggregate.
Slavia Prague pulled off a huge upset in the Round 32, beating Leicester, 2-0 on aggregate. The Czech champion is unbeaten domestically, but did lose twice during the group stage. Its expected-goal numbers are pretty impressive, scoring 1.88 xG per match and allowing 0.95 xG per match.
That said, Slavia Prague will be a tough out for any team in the competition.
I like Rangers in this match, because I don’t think Slavia Prague should be favored. Based on UEFA Coefficients, Scotland is a much more difficult league to play in than Czech Republic, so I’ll take Rangers via a Draw No Bet wager at +118 odds on DraftKings as my pick.
Pick: Rangers — Draw No Bet (+118)
Dynamo Kiev vs. Villarreal (12:55 p.m. ET)
Both of teams play an incredibly defensive style of soccer. Dynamo Kiev is best defensive team in Ukraine, allowing only 0.92 xG per match. The outfit allowed Club Brugge to create 2.04 xG over the two legs. However, it was only able to create 1.35 xG in both games, so it’s lucky to be in the Round of 16.
Villarreal has a fantastic defensive record in Spain, allowing only 1.00 xG per match. They held Salzburg, which has a fantastic offense, in check in the Round of 32, as the Austrian champion was only able to score one goal over the two legs. Most of Villarreal’s matches have been low scoring this season, as 54 percent have gone under 2.5 goals.
I think both teams are going to play very cautious in the first leg, so I could very easily see this game ending in a 0-0 or 1-1 draw. Since I only have 2.15 goals projected for this match, I’ll back under 2.5 goals at -143 odds via DraftKings.
Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (-143)
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Dinamo Zagreb (3 p.m. ET)
Spurs are on a fantastic run at the moment across all competitions. They’ve won four in a row, outscoring their opponents by a 13-1 margin. They destroyed Austrian club Wolfsberger, 8-1, on aggregate in previous round and have only lost one match in the Europa League this season.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min have been a dynamic duo, combining for 29 goals and 22 assists in the Premier League this season.
Dinamo Zagreb cruised past Russian outfit Krasnodar in the Round of 32, but Tottenham will be a massive step up in competition. The Croatian champion was lucky to draw weak opponents during the group stage, as it hasn’t faced a club from the five major European leagues this campaign.
The team’s expected goals aren’t really that impressive for playing in the 18th-most difficult league Europe, scoring 1.93 xG per match, while allowing 1.17 xG per outing.
The gap in the competition between the Premier League and Croatian league is massive, so I think Tottenham should cruise to victory.
Since I have Spurs spread projected at -1.46, I think there is some value on their spread of -1.5 at +116 odds at DraftKings.
Pick: Spurs -1.5 (+116)
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